George Brown, a Circuit Court judge in Shelby County for more than twenty years and briefly, during the administration of Governor Lamar Alexander, a state Supreme Court Justice, will retire next month, he confided to friends this week.

Brown, a pleasant but outspoken jurist and a talented amateur musician, will follow in the path of his good friend, the late former mayor and Circuit Court judge Wyeth Chandler, and become a professional mediator.

"I was talking to Wyeth just before he died last fall, and told him I was thinking of retiring, and he recommended that I consider mediation," said Brown, who added that he first began thinking of retirement from the bench while taking an extended vacation in Montreal last summer. "I had just turned 65, and I was thinking, 'If I don't start being good to myself now, than when will I?'" said Brown, who will also pursue some private business interests.

Brown was appointed to the Supreme Court by Alexander in 1980, becoming the first African-American member of the state's High Court, but later that year, as a member of a judicial slate backed by Republicans, lost out to Frank Drowota, an appeals court judge who had Democratic backing and who went on to become the current state Chief Justice.


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